Brian LauInstitut du cerveau et de la moelle épinière (ICM) - CNRS / Inserm / Sorbonne Universités
My research is aimed at understanding how neural activity within basal ganglia circuits enables us to learn and control our actions. I combine fundamental investigations in animal models with clinical investigations in patients undergoing deep brain stimulation surgery for treating movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. I trained with Walter J. Freeman and Yang Dan at the University of California, Berkeley, and obtained a PhD under the supervision of Paul Glimcher at New York University (2007). I was a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University where I worked with C. Daniel Salzman. Afterwards, I moved to the Brain and Spine Institute (ICM) as a visiting scholar with Etienne Hirsch. In 2012 I created the team “Experimental Neurosurgery” under the auspices of the ATIP-Avenir program, and was recruited by the CNRS (2013).
Mon projet ATIP-Avenir
The subthalamic nucleus and motor control: understanding function and dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease, affecting 6.3 million people worldwide. PD is caused by a progressive degeneration of midbrain dopamine neurons that decreases dopamine levels throughout the basal ganglia (BG), and the best available treatment in advanced PD is surgical implantation of deep brain stimulating (DBS) electrodes into the subthalamic nucleus (STN) of the BG. However, as PD advances, gait and balance disorders emerge that are not treated by dopamine replacement or STN-DBS. These symptoms contribute to morbidity, and we showed that these are the only class of PD symptoms that significantly predict mortality. The past and ongoing projects of my team aim to characterize the pathophysiology of cortical-subcortical circuits that include key DBS targets for treating PD as well as other neurological and psychiatric diseases. Our long-term goal is to develop new neurosurgical interventions, which we pursue along two principal axes: i) the anatomical comprehension of networks involving deep brain stimulation (DBS) targets, ii) the functional comprehension of these targets and connected brain areas using electrophysiology to develop novel DBS treatments based on electrophysiological biomarkers.